More recent history
In 1958 the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) ceased to exist as a separate entity, but many officers transfered into the newly formed Royal Naval Reserve. (RNR)
On 17 May 2003 the Sovereign's Colours were presented to the Royal Naval Reserve. Reproduced here are the two key speeches at the Ceremony.
Admiral HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, on the occasion of the Presentation
of the Sovereign's Colours to the Royal Naval Reserve:
“Commodore Ellis, officers, warrant officers, senior ratings, men and women of the Royal Naval Reserve. I am delighted to be able to join you on this historic day which celebrates the centenary of the formation of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and the continuing contribution made to this country by the volunteer service men and women of the modern Royal Naval Reserve. From its humble beginnings in 1903, the RNVR came to play a pivotal role in both World Wars. Over 70,000 reservists served in the First World War, in the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm but also, most significantly, with the Army, as the Royal Naval Division, fighting at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. In recognition of their outstanding bravery at sea and on land, 18 reservists won the Victoria Cross between 1914 and 1918. At the height of the Second World War, some 500,000 Reservists made up nearly three quarters of the Navy's manpower. In the words of Admiral Viscount Cunningham: ‘It is not widely known to what extent the Navy was dependent upon the RNVR.... and there were few naval activities which they did not penetrate and play a full part.’
The Royal Naval Reserve, formed in 1958, makes the same vital contribution to naval operations as its forebears did nearly 60 years ago. Today, RNR personnel serve with distinction with the Royal Navy, not only in support roles, for which they provide essential expertise to the regular forces, but also at the 'front line' at sea in our ships, submarines and aircraft.The Sovereign's Colours, which I present to you on behalf of Her Majesty, are given in grateful tribute to the thousands of servicemen and women of the Royal Naval Reserve and the Volunteer Reserve who have served this country so steadfastly, in war and in peacetime, throughout the last 100 years. May they also provide the focus for you and your successors in the next century, to emulate the deeds of those who have gone before and to uphold the fine traditions they established. I commend these Colours to your safekeeping as a source of inspiration to all of you, wherever you may be, in the continuing service of your country.”
Commodore J. A. Ellis, RD,
“Your Royal Highness, On behalf of the officers and men and women of the Royal Naval Reserve may I thank you for according us the honour of being here today and for presenting-the Sovereign's Colours of the Royal Navy to the Royal Naval Reserve on behalf of Her Majesty. This is the first time the Sovereign's Colours have been presented to the Royal Naval Reserve and it is most fitting that the RNR has been honoured in this, its centenary year. Sir, in the recent conflict in Iraq, over 300 naval reservists were mobilised to serve in the Gulf area and Iraq, as well as in headquarters afloat and in the UK.” They have served with distinction and many of them are here today, on parade. I am glad to report that the Royal Naval Reserve of today carries on the fine traditions of service to Crown and country which have long been part of its ethos since the time of the RNVR and even further back to the Sea Fencibles and the privateers of Tudor days. Sir, thank you once again for joining us today and I should be grateful if you could convey to Her Majesty that her Naval Reserve is in a healthy state."
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